Friday, January 30, 2009

Tips from ASTD TechKnowledge Participants

I am at the ASTD TechKnowledge Conference in Las Vegas Nevada and what an amazing week it has been. Today I made two presentations on “Facilitating Virtual Events,” one to a virtual audience and one in a traditional meeting room. In the spirit of knowledge sharing, I collected best practices and tips from both audiences and have posted them here. Any other good tips out there?
· Applaud volunteers profusely
· Rehearse in front of my dog
· Don’t read your slides verbatim
· Don't put ALL content on slides. Slides should reinforce what you are saying
· Use your National Public Radio (NPR) voice
· Don’t limit interactivity to verbal questions. Ask for hand raises. Include electronic click questions, free text response questions, etc.
· Create competitions to add some fun
· If you plan to record, make sure people agree to be taped. Remember that every form of recording is discoverable in a court of law.
· Participants should close all other non-applicable applications to enhance performance and reduce if not eliminate band-width issues.
· Help presenters with developing their own interactive solutions by providing coaching feedback on their rehearsals/teach-backs
· Give a "door prize" ( a gift certificate or book) for participants who complete pre-work (verified by us)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PREP Model for Web Conferencing: POST MORTEM

The final step of the four-step PREP model for web conferencing that I’ve been writing about for the last few days is the Post Mortem.

The Post Mortem is simply a review of what you did. One component of the post mortem is an evaluation by participants (such as a level 1 online evaluation, at a minimum). The importance of soliciting feedback and making adjustments cannot be understated. Since we cannot see our participants, the evaluation is even more important. Another component is a debrief by the facilitation team. Talk with the team about what worked well, what needs to be changed to improve the delivery.

Both of these tasks should take place immeidately after the event. Make the changes to your course as soon as possible...before you forget what they are and before you forget to do them altogether! The last thing you want to happen is to log in for your next delivery of the session and then realize that you didn't make the changes needed (to the content, exercises, etc.) from the previous delivery.

Monday, January 26, 2009

PREP Model for Web Conferencing: Execution

Over the last few days I’ve been writing about a four-step model for web conferencing known as the PREP Model. PREP stands for Planning, Rehearsal, Execution and Post Mortem. Today’s post elaborates on the Execution step.

In the Execution step, you are ready for the formal launch of your training. By the time you reach this step you have planned and rehearsed, you are ready to go!

A few tips to make sure your delivery goes smoothly are:

· Log in 30 min. early; ask participants to log in 15 min. early.

· Start and end on time.

· Display conference call number or audio information on screen.

· Engage the audience early, exposing them to the variety of methods they can use to interact.

· Give audience time to respond to questions, polls, chat. Some silence is okay.

· Have a second computer next to you so you can see the participant “view” at all times.

· Disable email arrival notification pop-ups and chimes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

PREP Model for Web Conferencing: REHEARSAL

If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance you can appreciate the amount of time the performers spent to get all of moving parts on the stage to synchronize flawlessly. Think about what you will need to do in order to ensure a smooth delivery so that even the very first time you deliver a session you make a good first impression.

I shoot for three practice deliveries: one with the facilitation team to work on timing and flow, then two rehearsals with mock audiences. After each rehearsal note adjustments needed and incorporate them into your session.

Friday, January 16, 2009

PREP Model for Web Conferencing: PLANNING

Over the next few days, I'll look at each of the four steps of the PREP (Planning, Rehearsal, Evaluation and Post Mortem) model for web conferencing. Step one is the planning you do to prepare for a web conference.

Five areas are listed in the planning stage, beginning with task of learning the platform. I’ve seen this happen before where the only preparation step taken was to learn the platform. Obviously you need to become familiar with the web conferencing platform and this is an important first step, however there are a few other tasks to consider. You'll also need to adjust your content and exercises to work properly in a web conferencing environment. Once you've finalized your materials, create a facilitator script that describes what is happening in terms of interactivity on each slide. Finally, you'll need to select your facilitation team which generally consists of a lead (the subject matter expert) and the producer (the web conferencing expert).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PREP Model for Web Conferencing

Web conferences that require the most amount of time and effort are web conferences for formal events. Whether the purpose of your web conference is to teach college students irregular verbs in Spanish or to teach staff how to have a performance management conversation with their manager, there are core steps that all web conferences have in common. Planning, Rehearsal, Execution and Post Mortem, or PREP, are core areas to consider for a web conference. Let’s look briefly at what I mean by each core step of the PREP model:

Planning: In this model, the majority of your time will be spent planning. Simply taking the slides from a face to face training and uploading them onto a web conferencing platform will not result in a positive learning experience. You will need to re-think and adjust three main areas: your content, exercises and language.

Rehearsal: There are many moving parts in a web conference, therefore, it takes more time to practice and rehearse. If you have been delivering a course in a face to face setting, give yourself time to practice the delivery in a web conference. Even if you know your content inside and out, you need time to rehearse to see how it flows, based on all the adjustments you made to your materials in the planning stage.

Execution: When delivered properly, a web conference can be just as engaging as face to face training. This is the execution step and an engaging and flawless execution means that you have planned and rehearsed. It also means that you have the right facilitation team in place.

Post Mortem: A post mortem means “a review of what you did.” This step includes a debrief with facilitators and an evaluation from participants.

I’ll go into each step in more detail in future posts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ELearning Web Sites

It's a new year and a great time to set goals. One of mine is to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on in the e-learning industry. I've compiled a list of useful e-learning websites, many with free newsletters that may be of use. If you use Delicious, I've also posted them on my Delicious account.

American Society for Training and Development
World's largest organization dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. Learning Circuits is ASTD’s online e-learning source for the latest learning technology news and ideas. Go to ASTD home > Publications > Learning Circuits.

Brandon Hall Research
Independent research on e-learning trends, best practices, tools and vendors.

Chief Learning Officer Magazine
Articles on a variety of topics and trends in training, and is especially good for organizational issues and innovations in e-learning.

Distance Educator
Provides publications and research from education, corporate, government/military sectors and is a good site for current news in e-learning. Free weekly newsletter.

E-Learning Centre
Comprehensive portal of information on e-learning, covering key issues and links to key publications and reports.

E-Learning Guild
The Guild provides a good source of surveys and reports on trends in e-learning. Different levels of membership provide access to different information, however the free membership level includes a subscription to Learning Solutions eMagazine and eLearning Insider.

Learning for International NGOs (LINGOS)
Mission is to facilitate the creation, development and support of learning environments in the humanitarian relief, development and environmental sector. Members gain access online courses and e-learning tools.

MASIE Center Learning Lab and Think Tank
Source of information on technology, business, learning and workplace productivity run by Elliot Masie. Free e-newsletter subscription called Learning TRENDS.

Society for Applied Learning (SALT)
SALT is a professional society that offers resources and conferences for those in the field of instructional technology. Sponsors three journals: Journal of Instruction Delivery Systems, Journal of Interactive Instruction Development and Journal of Education Technology Systems.

A Consortium of Institutions and Organizations Committed to Quality Online Education. Publishes the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks and the Sloan-C View, a free weekly newsletter.